Girl meets boy in rural fishing town. They fall in love. But the girl also fell for the stupid modern meme of having to go to the big city to pursue a career and "chase her dream", whatever that it. Of course long distance relationships never work longer than a couple of weeks, and that's where the drama part of the story comes in. A pretty common movie theme, which I am not a big fan of. I just keep thinking "what a waste". It makes for a nice bittersweet romance, but the message I draw from these movies is always that instead of running away to the big city, people should stay where they are rooted, hang on to the person they fall in love with, get married and have some children instead.But despite all that and the fact that the story seems a bit forced at times, it's still a sweet film with good acting, likeable characters and some beautiful scenery.P.S.; Why are English speaking scenes with American actors in Japanese movies always so freaking cringe?
'Impulsive' is a word that is thrown frequently about in this romantic drama, presumably aimed towards a teenage/young adult audience, especially since themes of teenage angst and jealousy crop up within the narrative. Ironically, many who use this particular term prove to be the most impulsive of all. Kouhei Kiuichi (Toma Ikuta) is one such individual who fits this description: a young fisherman, who is spontaneously abrupt. The film begins with him as an adolescent, who, by chance encounter, meets Sae Hirasawa (Yui Aragaki). Sae is far more adept at study, wishing to eventually leave the fishing town they occupy for Tokyo, while Kouhei's future is already predetermined - he's going to inherit the fishing business his family has been committed to for several generations.Though Kouhei's father, Kenjiro (Yutaka Matsushige), has a massive role in his life's decisions, Sae's father is little more than a memory, having spent much of his life in Canada, the country where Sae was born, before she and her mother, Ryoko (Hiroko Yakushimaru) moved to Tokyo. Her father however returned briefly, only upon discovering he was ill, so he might spend his last remaining time with her. Though Sae feels Japan is her home, she has often dreamed of traveling to where she was born, her dreams existing far outside the reaches of the fishing town she originally occupies at the film's beginning, while Kouhei's dreams do not.Though the two leads are able to find a romantic connection together, Sae's dedication to her study sends her on a journey to Tokyo, with the blessing of her mother. Kouhei on the other hand drops out of high-school to pursue life as a fisherman, working alongside many of his friends, including Ritsuko (Misako Renbutsu), a young woman with a crush on him. Although a long distance relationship is successfully orchestrated, it is not without its pressures, its problems, and its temptations, resulting in the question: can these two characters really remain as one? Set over the course of many years, from adolescence, into young adulthood, the film efficiently articulates how life has a way of happening, while we, who live it, simply travel along for the ride.The imagery is especially startling: scenes depicting oceans, horizons and floral beauty are exceptionally captured, one of the most memorable scenes depicting Sae beside a lighthouse in Canada. The beauty of the world is potentially accentuated by Junichi Kitami (Osamu Mukai), a photographer whose images occasionally grace the screen.The contrasts between the scenes in Japan, and those in America and Canada are very astounding to behold, however, as a slight criticism, the American characters in the feature appear too nice. Don't get me wrong, almost all of the Americans I've met have been plenty nice, however these characters seem unnaturally so, as though they are the impromptu interpretation the writers had of how Americans are, their formality and respectfulness having being based upon Japanese culture.Imagery aside, the song the film is based upon, Hanamizuki from You Hitoto, is especially brilliant, while the soundtrack that accompanies many of the scenes is equally astounding, the melody sweeping viewers along. However, it's during the scenes, that experience the track's absence, where the intensity of the drama is effectively played out.The acting, across the board, exceptionally allows audiences to believe in each of the character's, who appear incredibly realistic, Ms. Aragaki's credible English deserving mentioning. One of the best aspects of the film is the tone and duration, the narrative never feeling forced, or out of place, there being a number of great scenes when the audience will undoubtedly hold their breath in preparation for what happens. Much like the small ornamental boat, which is passed back and forth between the leads over the course of the feature, we hope they will find their way back into each others hearts one day.
There are many reasons why Hanamizuki is considered a must-see film. 1. It is directed by Nobuhiro Doi, director of great romance films and series such as Be With You and Nada Sou Sou. 2. It is starred by Ikuta Toma, Aragaki Yui, and Mukai Osamu. OMG!!! >0< 3. It is based on the most beautiful song of the same name by Hitoto You. ... and so on.I almost screamed out of joy when knowing that it would be released in Thailand at Apex and House cinemas and managed to get some tickets to the Thailand film premiere at last.Hanamizuki tells a tear-jerking love story similar to Be With You and Nada Sou Sou (but not as much tear-jerking as the two Doi's previous films). The film is sad, but I found it encouraging rather than depressing. Kind of encouraging people to be true to love. Toma, Gakky, and Osamu have all delivered such great performances. So talented and natural as they are, fans will not be disappointed. The scenery in the film were also very well-chosen. On the other hand, the plot of the film is a bit too 'soap opera' and has pulled down the film somewhat, pity.All in all, the film is definitely worth watching for the brilliant Toma & Gakky, just don't expect too much of the plot. ^^*Notice* Please continue watching the end credits to see various nice pics.